Ring Of Fire: The Music Of Johnny Cash
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Created by Richard Maltby, Jr. & Conceived by William Meade
Wednesday, August 10 -
Sunday, September 4

Wed & Thurs 7:30pm / Fri & Sat 8:00pm
Wed & Sun 2:00pm

Thank you to all who made the run of this show such a success.  Thank you, also, to those who were so patient while we dealt with the chaos of the hurricane.

The cast of Ring of Fire

A tribute to the legendary Man in Black.  The music of Johnny Cash is like listening to the soundtrack of America  – from 50’s radio to 70’s television to 90’s recordings with Rick Rubin (with the Grand Ole Opry and a bit of gospel in between!)  Featuring 38 of his greatest songs, this show is not a biography of Johnny Cash, but rather an on-stage celebration of a country icon and an American legend.  Songs include “Folsom Prison Blues”, “I Walk the Line”, “Big River” and “Boy Named Sue”.  Created by Richard Maltby, Jr. and conceived by William Meade.

Ring of Fire was originally produced on Broadway by William Meade, CTM Productions, Bob Cullio, GFour Productions and James B. Freydberg.  Orchestrations by Steven Bishop and Jeff Lisenby.

Sponsored by Essex Savings Bank and Essex Printing.

Ring of Fire:  The Music of Johnny Cash
Cast List in Alphabetical Order

Eric Scott Anthony *
Eric is thrilled to debut in CT at the Ivoryton Playhouse!  Broadway: Ring of Fire.  Regional: Ring of Fire at the Studio Arena Theater, The Flat Rock Playhouse, and the Merry Go Round Playhouse.  Pump Boys & Dinettes (Jackson) at TUTS in Houston as well as Lyric Theater of Oklahoma (Jackson/MD).  Smoke on the Mountain (Dennis) and A Sanders Family Christmas(MD/Stanley) at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.  Eric is a native of St. Louis (go Cardinals!) and was a section leader/soloist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

Jon Brown
Jon Brown is a St. Louis native and has been a professional musician there for two decades. Playing piano, organ, guitar, drums, bass and saxophone, he performs and teaches regularly. He played “L.M.” in Pump Boys & Dinettes (national tour, Theater Under the Stars, Oklahoma Lyric Theatre) and was most recently cast as Male Swing for the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse’s production of Ring of Fire.


Michael Hicks *

Michael Hicks is truly giddy to have his third stab at Ring of Fire having performed at Flat Rock Playhouse and Merry-Go-Round Playhouse previously.  Michael has been seen at Weston Playhouse, Capital Repertory Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Depot Theatre, Riverside Theatre, Swine Palace, and Cape Fear Regional Theatre as well as having worked with a number of theatre companies in and around New York City.  He is on faculty at the CAP 21 conservatory and has previously taught at Rutgers University and The Studio in New Canaan, CT.

Megan Loomis *
Megan Loomis is thrilled to be reprising her role in ROF. National Tour: John Doyle’s Sweeney Todd(Standby Mrs.Lovett, Beggar Woman), Sam Mendes’ Cabaret(Helga, Sally/Kost cover). Off B’way: The Mikado, Princess Ida (City Center). NYC: Hell: the Opera (PS122), Northanger Abbey, Happy End (Theatre 1010). Regional: Woody Sez (Lyric Theatre OK and Edinburgh Festival), Sisters of Swing, Ring of Fire(dir. David Lutken), Cabaret (with Deborah Gibson), Drowsy Chaperone(Ogunquit-dir. Casey Hushion), Titanic(dir. Scott Schwartz), Pump Boys (Carousel Dinner Theatre).  Education: Eastman School of Music, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art London.

Deb Lyons *
Broadway and original London cast: Smokey Joe’s Café (DVD).  National tour:  Lucy in  Jekyll & Hyde. Regional credits include Lady Montague in The Last Goodbye (Williamstown) Velma in Hairspray; Side By Side By Sondheim; Ring of Fire; Swing (PCLO) and Rhetta in Pumpboys & Dinettes.  She toured the world for 5 years in the mid 90’s with The Mamas & The Papas, singing with original Papas, John Phillips and Denny Doherty performing the songs made famous by the late Mama Cass.  Off-B’way: sang with legendary songwriters, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil in They Wrote That? Backup singer for Donna Summer, 2008.  Just released debut CD of jazz & B’way tunes “Dream a Little”.  www.DebLyonsMusic.com.

John Rochette *
John returns to Ivoryton for the third time after playing Jerry Allisson in Buddy & Woody in Finian’s Rainbowlast summer.  John is nothing without his family, friends & his sneap. Some cool credits include Frank ‘n Furter in Rocky Horror, Center Blue Man in NYC’s Blue Man Group, and multiple Sleezy Soap Characters on One to Live & Guiding Light.  He’s a born and raised Jersey-boy, a proud Rutgers graduate, and will never grow up.  And remember, country is just rock with pickup trucks… JohnRochette.com

Helen Russell *
This is Helen’s third production of Ring of Fire and she would be the first to admit it really is as fun as it looks… and, of course, it’s always a pleasure to dust off the old bass and work with this particular group of funsters.  Helen is also a member of the original cast of David Lutken’s Woody Sez, and was delighted to be a part of the 2007 debut in Edinburgh, for subsequent tours throughout the U.K. and Europe, the American debut in Oklahoma and most recently, a run at the Arts Theatre in London’s West End. At home in New York City, she musical directs, builds websites, freelances in the art departments of assorted magazines and runs a little B & B.  Her debut CD Holly Days was released in 2008, followed by a series of solo concerts in 2009 and 2010. A new CD of folk music is in the works!

Scott Sowers *
Broadway: Inherit the Wind (with Mr Lutken), A Streetcar Named Desire, Bus Stop, A Few Good Men(Nat’l Tour, LADramalogue Award).  NY Credits: Ensemble Studio Theatre: Tennessee, Matthew and the Pastor’s Wife, Lenin’s Embalmers, Princes of Waco, Lucy.  Signature Theater Company: Romulus Linney Season 1 (founder and alumni), Edward Albee Season 3, Arthur Miller Season 6.  Film and TV: True Grit, Ignorant Bliss of Sun and Moon(Tribeca Film Festival, 2011), Boardwalk Empire, 13 episodes of the Law & Order franchise, World’s Deadliest Sharks (narrator), Cracker(series regular).  Scott has narrated dozens of audiobook titles, has been a veteran of The Hootenanny for 4 years and has run over 8000 miles (!) with his pure-bred mutt, SABBA.

Co-Directors:

Sherry Stregack *
Sherry Stregack (Co-Director, Choreographer)  was part of the regional reinvention of Ring of Fire in 2009 at The Flat Rock Playhouse and in 2010 at The Merry Go Round Playhouse.  Sherry’s choreography, musical staging, acting and directing projects have intermingled in many productions.  Credits include- Off Broadway: Abigail in The Crucible, and Nicole in Bourgeois Gentleman which she also choreographed. Regional Theater: Stars In Your Eyes (Choreographer/ impish Moonbeam #3); Crimes of The Heart (Babe); Last Night of Ballyhoo(Lala);  Pump Boys and Dinettes (Prudie/Choreographer); and Anything Goes (Bonnie/Choreographer).

David Lutken *
David M. Lutken: BROADWAY: Inherit the Wind (’07); Ring of Fire; The Civil War; The Will Rogers Follies. OFF-BROADWAY: Stars in Your Eyes; American Song; Winterman; The Portable Pioneer and Prairie Show. NYCO: Paul Bunyan. REGIONAL: Man of La Mancha; Big River; Elmer Gantry; Finian’s Rainbow; Pump Boys and Dinettes; Stand By Your Man; The Love List; The Man Who Came to Dinner; On Golden Pond; In The Deep Heart’s Core. He has appeared in Europe, The British Isles and most recently, the West End of London in his original show Woody Sez about the life of Woody Guthrie. He also performs in his home state of Louisiana with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.

Stage Manager:  TRick Jones*

Musical Director:  Eric Anthony*

Choreographer:  Sherry Stregack*

Set Design:  William Stark

Lighting Design:  Tate Burmeister

Costume Design:  Vivianne Lamb

Wig and Hair Design:  Joel Silvestro

* member of Actors Equity

The cast of Ring of Fire

Grab your guitar and head on down!

There’s a Hootenanny every Sunday at The Ivoryton PlayhouseIf you love some down-home country music, head on over to the Ivoryton Playhouse on Sunday afternoons through September 4th.

After every Sunday matinee performance of Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, the cast will bring the music outside the Playhouse and welcomes local musicians to join them for a real old-time hootenanny!

Whether you are a guitar whizz or just like to bang the spoons, you won’t want to miss this chance to play with or just listen to these amazing musicians. The nine professional musicians in this cast are from all parts of this country and they are bringing their talents to Ivoryton for one month only in this celebration of the life and music of Johnny Cash.

Come and join the fun!

The musical takes for its marquee the title of one of the hit tunes of American singer-songwriter Cash. But the show, conceived by William Meade and created by Richard Maltby Jr., drawing on a cache of Cash songs, is not a biography of The Man in Black.In 38 musical numbers, a mosaic of American experience is pieced together in Ring of Fire, the creators say. There’s a scene about keeping the love fires burning in middle age (“While I’ve Got It On My Mind”), there’s a scene with generations of a family sharing a meal (and sharing music) in “Daddy Sang Bass,” there’s the second-act opener about life travels (“I’ve Been Everywhere”), even a section with a chain gang (“Folsom Prison Blues”).Maltby said, “It’s about home and family and getting together and loving somebody and having a backyard and generations living together, it’s about what holds you together in the face of a hard life, it’s about the really basic family values.”The show’s song list includes Cash’s “Country Boy,” “A Thing Called Love,” “Five Feet High and Rising,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” “Ring of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,” “I’ve Been Everywhere,” “The Man in Black,” and his final hit, “Hurt.”Ring of Fire  opens on August 10th  and runs thru September 4th  for 4 weeks. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318

PRESS RELEASE – July 25, 2011

Scott Sowers

A Tribute to the Legendary Man in Black

Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash

Created by Richard Maltby Jr, conceived by William Meade

Ivoryton: What happens when you give the gritty and rustic lyrics of Johnny Cash to highly trained, technically proficient, powerful Broadway vocalists? The result is a stunning, moving, uplifting musical that has played to sold-out houses across the country and is opening at the Ivoryton Playhouse on August 10th.

Helen Russell

The musical takes for its marquee the title of one of the hit tunes of American singer-songwriter Cash. But the show, conceived by William Meade and created by Richard Maltby Jr., drawing on a cache of Cash songs, is not a biography of The Man in Black.

In 38 musical numbers, a mosaic of American experience is pieced together in Ring of Fire. There’s a scene about keeping the love fires burning in middle age (“While I’ve Got It On My Mind”), a scene with generations of a family sharing a meal (and music) in “Daddy Sang Bass,” there’s the second-act opener about life travels (“I’ve Been Everywhere”), even a section with a chain gang (“Folsom Prison Blues”).

L-R:: Jon Brown, John Rochette, Helen Russell and Michael Hicks - the cast of Ring of Fire at the Ivoryton Playhouse

 

Maltby said, “It’s about home and family and getting together and loving somebody and having a backyard and generations living together, it’s about what holds you together in the face of a hard life, it’s about the really basic family values.”

The show’s song list includes Cash’s “Country Boy,” “A Thing Called Love,” “Five Feet High and Rising,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” “Ring of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,” “I’ve Been Everywhere,” “The Man in Black,” and his final hit, “Hurt.”

David Lutken*, just back from London’s West End where he had a terrific run with his new show Woody Sez, about the legendary Woody Guthrie, directs and appears in this Ring of Fire. Staging and choreography is by Sherry Stregack and musical direction by Eric Anthony*. Cast includes John Rochette*, who was seen last summer at the Playhouse in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and Finian’s Rainbow, Scott Sowers*, Helen Russell*, Deb Lyons*, Megan Loomis*, Michael Hicks*, Jon Brown* and Eric Anthony*.

Deb Lyons and David Lutken

Ring of Fire opens on August 10th and runs thru September 4th for 4 weeks. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting our website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Streetin Ivoryton.

Sponsored by Essex Savings Bank and Essex Printing.

Megan Loomis and Eric Scott Anthony

Members of the press are welcome at any performance.  Please call ahead for tickets.

*member of Actors Equity

Photos courtesy of Anne Hudson

Support the Playhouse by buying a raffle ticket during the run of Ring of Fire.  Proceeds benefit the programs of the Ivoryton Playhouse.  Tickets are $5.00 and will be sold in the lobby before the show and during intermission.  Three great prizes to win!  Drawing will be held Sunday, September 4 at 3:30pm.

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Did You
Know

When Johnny Cash first tried to record for Sun records, Cash pitched himself as a gospel singer. After that didn’t work, he sat on the steps of the recording studio until he could convince Sam Phillips to listen to his songs. The strategy worked! His first single on Sun was released on June 21, 1955.